City officials broke their silence this week regarding a pending drunken driving case against Petaluma Police Officer Ryan McGreevy, providing insight as to why no blood alcohol test was taken at the scene of the incident but leaving other questions unanswered.
Questions from the public recently surfaced regarding the manner in which the Petaluma Police Department handled the investigation into an officer, McGreevey's, motor scooter crash that occurred on Oct. 5 during the department's annual hostage negotiation team fundraiser at Rooster Run Golf Course. In not responding to certain questions about the incident, Petaluma police and city officials cited the ongoing nature of their own investigation into the matter and the need for privacy around personnel issues.
McGreevy, off-duty at the time, allegedly crashed a scooter owned by a fellow officer on the fairway of the fourth hole. He was transported by Petaluma Fire Department personnel to Petaluma Valley Hospital, and later to Santa Rosa Memorial, for head injuries sustained in the crash.
The Sonoma County District Attorney filed a single misdemeanor DUI charge against McGreevy in February stemming from the crash — months after the initial incident. Community members have since questioned why no arrest was made at the scene and why no field sobriety or blood alcohol tests were taken.
Petaluma Police Lt. Tim Lyons, speaking on behalf of the department at Police Chief Patrick Williams' request, explained that after McGreevy crashed, no on-duty officers were called to the scene. "It was called in (to dispatch) as a medical call, which typically does not trigger a police response," Lyons said. When asked if on-duty police officers should have been dispatched to the scene, since driving any motorized vehicle while intoxicated constitutes a DUI, Lyons said he couldn't comment, and referred to the ongoing nature of the investigation.
A public records request submitted by the Petaluma Argus-Courier to the city produced documents showing that a Petaluma Fire Department engine and emergency medic transport unit was dispatched to the Rooster Run Golf Course in response to a scooter accident on Oct. 5. No mention of alcohol was listed in the Fire Department's report and fire personnel made no call for police assistance, despite the fact that some witnesses later told the CHP investigator that they saw McGreevy drinking.
Fire Department Chief Larry Anderson said Tuesday that if a crash involving alcohol had occurred on a public roadway and no on-duty police officers had responded, it would have been the responsibility of the medics to alert the police to the crash.
"But if it were a medical call, on private property — which this was — I'm not sure the responding medics would have known that they should report it as a crime," said Anderson. "Without knowing all the parameters of the call, my guess is that the guys were treating it as a medical call and were focused on getting the injured party the care he needed, not on reporting the incident to officers."
Anderson added that the responding medics followed the fire department's protocol.
It was originally reported that the police department took one month from when the incident occurred to when they referred the investigation to the CHP, causing some to question the delay. This week, Lyons said those reports are untrue.